Star Wars Tales of the Jedi Ahsoka Interview: Ashley Eckstein

ahsoka using the force

Ahsoka is back.
Image: lucasfilm

Ten years ago everyone was sure Ahsoka Tano was dead. Dead both on screen, with his show The Clone Wars all but canceled and offscreen, because how could another Force user still be alive in the world of star wars?

Things have certainly changed. Not only has Ahsoka returned for After clone wars episodesbut she was also back on another anime series, star wars rebelsand has been central to novels, comics, and even the live-action world, with appearances on The Mandalorian and Boba Fett book establishment his own show. But even this is only the beginning.

Last week, Ahsoka returned to her roots and appeared in three episodes of Star Wars: Tales of the Jedian animated anthology from character co-creator Dave Filoni, aiming to tell crucial new stories, about star wars I say. Jit shows meant actress Ashley Eckstein would get one more time to voice the character, and io9 told him about the comeback and each of the standout episodes.

“When Dave Filoni calls and says there’s a new project, there’s no pitch, it’s just how quickly we can get the word ‘yes’ out,” Eckstein told io9 the week last. She recorded her episodes during the pandemic on Zoom, and each posed unique challenges and questions. Below, we break it all down.

Image for article titled Ahsoka Tano herself, Ashley Eckstein, breaks down Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

Image: lucasfilm

Tales of the Jedi Episode 1: “Life and Death”

“Life and Death” tells the story of Ahsoka’s birth and her first experience with the Force. However, since the character is still a baby, Eckstein has nothing to do with the episode. As a fan of the character, she was fascinated that she finally got to see where Ahsoka was coming from.

“It was really, really interesting to see Ahsoka’s backstory as a baby and see everyone in her town,” Eckstein said. “I think the problem with Tales of the Jedi is that it opened more questions than we have answers. Now I have so, so many questions.

When Eckstein was doing The Clone Wars, she would ask Filoni about Ahsoka’s backstory, but he would never really give her any information. “I asked a lot about it,” she said. “I always wanted to know his story. And to be honest, I don’t fully remember what Dave said. But what I do remember is that he was always shy about it. What I always understood from his answers that it was a story he always wanted to tell, so it’s very cool that he finally got the chance to tell it.

Image for article titled Ahsoka Tano herself, Ashley Eckstein, breaks down Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

Image: lucasfilm

Tales of the Jedi Episode 5: “Practice Makes Perfect”

The next time Ahsoka appears in Tales of the Jedithe story takes place at the beginning of his journey, around the timeline of the clone wars movie and season 1 of the series. For Eckstein, that meant returning to a voice she hadn’t had to do in years.

“I really enjoyed reuniting with a 14-year-old Ahsoka,” she said. “It’s fun to reminisce and go back to that time, and it was actually quite easy to change my voice back to 14-year-old Ahsoka. It’s like stepping back into an old pair of boots that you’ve had since. years and you’ve broken them. They’re comfortable. They just mold to your foot. And that’s how I felt.

This does not mean, however, that there was no preparation. “I went back and looked The Clone Wars movie and several of the first episodes of the first season,” she said. “So I listened to my voice back then and it’s shocking how different it is. Ahsoka has grown so much and she’s been through such an evolution.

This evolution is partly due to the fact that his master, Anakin, put him through such intense training. The episode not only features the voices of Eckstein clone wars family (Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker), who all came together on Zoom, but may hold the keys to several mysteries surrounding the character. For example, Ahsoka Tano has two lightsabers. Is it because of that?

“I think so,” Eckstein said. “I actually got to watch the episodes with my nephew last night who is like a star wars expert. And we came to the same conclusion. That she got the second lightsaber for her training and because of these drills.

Eckstein also found it interesting how this specific drill of dodging blasts from Clone Troopers would become so crucial to the character’s survival. “[Anakin] was preparing her to save his life,” she said. “And I think what was so heartbreaking to me, after seeing him for the first time, was that not many of them knew that he was literally setting her up to save her life against the clones. The very people she was learning about are the very people she later had to escape from, which made the situation even more heartbreaking. But it also answers our question of how could she do this? How could she escape the clones at the end of season five like she did and then how was she able to escape the clones, obviously, with Order 66?

Image for article titled Ahsoka Tano herself, Ashley Eckstein, breaks down Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

Image: lucasfilm

Tales of the Jedi Episode 6: “Resolve”

The last episode of Tales of the Jediset shortly before the events of STar war rebels, raised complex emotions for Eckstein. “Ahsoka to Padme‘s funeral, for me, I was sobbing during that scene as I was recording it,” she said. “It was very real when she said, ‘She was my friend. I could hear it because I knew what was going on but I was crying during that scene. So. yes, the emotions were very, very real in this episode.

After the funeral, we meet Ahsoka hiding as a farmer. Some fans have noticed that the story has very close parallels with E.K. Johnson Ahsoka novel, but Eckstein says it was never discussed. “No, we haven’t had any conversations about the novel… but it felt like an extension of the novel,” she said. “I didn’t even ask Dave if it was before the novel or [after], I just assumed it was sort of at the beginning of this chapter. So I definitely feel the parallels.”

A missing parallel is Kaedan Lartea woman who begins to fall in love with Ahsoka in the book. Tales has a similar character but removed the love story and some (including io9) criticized the series for ostensibly replacing a queer character. When the subject came up, Eckstein could only express deep adoration for the character.

“I will say that I love the character of Kaedan and Miara, his sister,” she said. “EK Johnson and I actually collaborated on another book, From a certain point of view, where we wrote a chapter together and included these characters. But, that’s purely my opinion because I haven’t had any discussions about it, I hope we end up seeing Kaedan and Miara because I think EK Johnston wrote two amazing female characters that I hope we see in the future.

Finally, as was the case almost 10 years ago, Eckstein admits that the latest episode of Tales of the Jedi made her sad because, as of now, she doesn’t know if this is the last time she will voice the character or not. “Every time I walk into the studio and record Ahsoka, I always have so much gratitude and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity,” she said. “I never look like, ‘Okay, well, what’s in store for us?’ And, ‘Why don’t we have more?’ I never look at it that way. I’m just grateful for what I can do. But there’s always a sadness every time a project ends. And so this episode, in particular, was, the last, it was sad.

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi is now on Disney+.

Want more io9 news? Find out when to wait for the last wonder and star wars versions, what’s next for the DC Universe in Film and TVand everything you need to know about Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.